Mercedes pinpoints Red Bull's main weakness in F1 2021 battle

Mercedes believes that Red Bull’s deficit in races is down to it suffering higher rear tyre degradation, a factor that may not be as important at all Formula 1 tracks as it has recently.

The opening four races have pointed to Red Bull having a quicker car in qualifying, but Mercedes holding the edge when it comes to managing tyres over longer runs.

The advantage that the Mercedes held in looking after its tyres was obvious at last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton’s rubber appeared to be in much better shape at the end of stints than Max Verstappen’s.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin is not convinced that the race pace advantage is guaranteed at every venue yet though, and suggests that the issue appears to revolve around car balance.

“We are still not really at a stage where we go in thinking we’ve got a better race car or we are better at looking after the tyres,” he explained.

“It is actually quite hard to say what it was [in the Spanish GP]. We were able to sit behind them and, when you are the lead car and someone can sit on your gearbox for a whole stint, it is not normally good news.

“But we are still in the stage of the year where we are collecting data across the different tracks. But it does look to be a bit of a trend that maybe we have got a slightly more neutral car.

“Theirs seems to be a bit harder on the rear tyres over a stint whereas we are using both axles quite well. But we will see with some more data whether that is really a feature of the car or just how we are setting it up.”

Read Also:

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner thinks there is no doubt that Mercedes has had the pace advantage in recent races, but remains encouraged that his squad is much closer than it was 12 months ago.

“I think the Mercedes, and we've seen it since Bahrain, their race pace has been better than ours at each GP that we've seen so far,” he said. “I think that their degradation has been better than ours.

“So we knew these last two circuits would play to their strengths. They have done that. But we're an awful lot closer than we have been and I think if we can find some more race pace it's still very, very tight between the two cars.”

shares
comments

Related video

Leclerc explains sensational Bottas pass in Spanish GP
Previous article

Leclerc explains sensational Bottas pass in Spanish GP

Next article

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner
Load comments
The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Prime

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. Oleg Karpov asks if any of these goals are achievable…

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Prime

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021